All the focus in Canada is on the election campaign while in Washington, the focus is on trying to keep the government's doors open and the revenue flowing..... Are we having fun yet?
The Conservatives have weathered about three solid days of media coverage on the ousting of two young women who were given the heave-ho from a campaign event by the RCMP. This led all newscasts at least two nights running, which means it really was the most important newsworthy event in the world, or it's a perfect example of the loss of proportionality by the media. You decide.
Prime Minister Harper finally apologized to them today which puts an end to the "controversy". In the meantime the Liberals had their own controversy - a 'white supremacist' candidate was given the boot by Michael Ignatieff which only threw them off their message for one day. However, a second candidate - Liberal candidate John Reilly from Alberta after making 'unacceptable comments about a sexual abuse case' decided to keep him on - thus throwing him off message for a second day. In my weekly gig on CTV's Power Play as Don Martin and I discussed some of these matters and the ads posted on websites by the Tories and the Liberals: CTV Power Play April 6th .
Not surprisingly the polls don't indicate much movement so far, but wait until the debates on April 12th (English) and April 14th (French) and then I think we will see some dislodging of the 'don't know' and 'undecided' swing voters. Having coached many leaders for debates, each leader has to define clearly their goals, core messages, key positioning, and be able to get their messages across under fire.
In a nutshell, Stephen Harper has to survive, while Ignatieff has to introduce himself to voters as he has been sharply defined by the Tories over the past year. Jack Layton has to present himself as a clear alternative to the status quo. Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has to merely show up in English (where he always exceeds expectations) but most strongly deliver in French on the second debate - positioning himself as the 'only alternative' to the federalist parties.
In today's Postmedia news I was interviewed about the strategies that the leaders will be employing in their preparation for the debates.
I was interviewed by Carol & Paul Mott on their radio program this a.m. on the debates & campaign controversies. [Click on April 7th podcasts and it's about 2 minutes in] http://lnkd.in/AMJPEV
In Washington, today's the deadline for negotiating a compromise over the budget. Failure to come to an agreement will mean the shutdown of key government offices, which will, in turn, hurt ordinary folks who depend on the government for help on their mortgage problems to their social security checks. If the Republicans don't come to an agreement, it will be 1996 all over again as they will be blamed for bringing on the pain and the President will be positioned as the one trying to fight on behalf of the middle class and the vulnerable. The President went on television last night and while his declared message was the differences have narrowed he reached beyond that to the messages about the 800,000 families who won't have a paycheck, the Americans who won't have the services they're counting on - passports won't be delivered, etc. the economic damage etc. - which clearly positioned the issue as going backwards because Washington doesn't have its act together".
Until next time....pay attention and stay very, very calm.